Doha Festival City has invited artists in Qatar to join the ‘Festival City Canvas’ celebrating the diversity of culture, ethnicity, nationality, upbringings and backgrounds of the people in Qatar. With the concept of ‘Qatar Unites Us’, each artist is drawing and painting a masterpiece on a canvas, inspired by their personal and cultural experiences in Qatar.
All & About recently met and interviewed the artists, Christina Dinu from Romania, Erum Khalid from Pakistan and Shihar Hamza from India, and got some insights on their background and their work.
Read what they have to say below!
“I’m completely self-taught. I haven’t been to art school – I’d have loved to but unfortunately. I’ve always been creative, and love painting, drawing, arts & crafts since I was little. When I moved to Qatar in 2018, I found that they have more events and exposure especially for beginner-level artists like me, compared to where I lived earlier. So, cut to the pandemic when I had nothing much to do, I decided to start off with a few paintings, and that’s when I also came across the opportunity at the Faisal Bin Qasim Al Thani Museum where they were having an exhibition on ‘Art during the time of COVID’- that was a group exhibition, and since then, I’ve encountered many opportunities – a media company approached me for this canvas. This is definitely a first-of-its-kind experience for me.
The overall theme is ‘Qatar Unites Us’ so my painting represents all the nationalities who live in Qatar and the hashtag #QatarUnitesUs will be in the middle.
When I was younger, I enjoyed making cards for my relatives with the fountain tip ink pens, and handwriting is also something that I’ve really been fascinated about. So this also happened during the pandemic actually, I started doing calligraphy, and when I saw that people really appreciated it, so I decided to focus on this skill through research and practice.
I enjoy sketching or painting every day, and needless to say, my art pieces are all over the place in my house. When you’re younger, you’re exploring that kind of contemporary, but now I’ve been checking out the galleries in Qatar, even online, and I use that kind of stuff that appeals to me as an adult as an inspiration for my work.
Another style that I have explored in 3D Calligraphy is called Calligraffiti and I also use shading to make different shapes and give them a 3D feel. This is also something that I’m going to inculcate in my painting. I’m still trying to get a more solid grasp on 3D style though.
When I moved to Qatar 3 years ago, this was completely not in the picture. One of my goals was to have some way of getting into a gallery, and I was able to achieve that. The ultimate would be to have a solo show, but I’ve a long way to go. Apart from this, a lot of stuff that I never thought of, has actually happened and I’m grateful, including standing here and painting in front of so many people!”
“I’ve been living in Qatar since 2010 and what I really like about Doha is that it’s the best place to live as an ex-pat, in my opinion. When I came here 11 years ago, I found the community to be extremely welcoming and helpful, which made it so much safe and easier for me.
Coming to my art – I’m a self-taught artist. During my early maternity years when my boys were very young, as a mom, I felt like I needed my ‘me time’ even more. So that’s how it happened for me – when my children started going to the nursery, I had a lot of time in my hands so I used to meet other mums for coffee. During one of those meet-ups, a friend of mine suggested that we get our sketchbooks along instead of just having coffee. This was 2 and a half years ago – we started from nothing and then we were encouraging each other to do more.
I’ve always loved art. I think art is a part of everyone’s life in some way or the other, but I also wanted to bring the creative ideas that I had in my mind out into life – I had things to show and things to say – I always wanted to let it out. I was a total beginner, but the circle of people around me was so amazing and encouraging, not to forget my husband, who is my best friend and number one fan. They motivated me with messages like “you can do more, take this seriously, don’t just leave it as a hobby” and then eventually I felt like I should dedicate more time to see where this will take me. So, in 6 months my art escalated from a hobby level to the status of an emerging artist.
I created Facebook and Instagram pages to showcase my paintings, I’ve put up my hand for all the events that can possibly happen, even if they’re online. I’m attending online classes to learn new techniques, to get in touch with other artists, understanding their methods. I always prefer interacting with fellow artists personally, and learning from their experiences rather than from a class.
I’m still exploring my own niche/style, but I’m at the border, still oscillating between 2 styles – one of them is impressionistic, a very soft style with a lot of details and atmosphere, and the other one is abstract. I love colors and I love to discover how colors make you feel in a certain way. I’m also looking forward to starting working with oils.
My painting here is a message to the residents of Qatar, to find something that unites all of us together, and since we speak a universal language of sports and culture, I decided to link it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. So this is a representation of the city’s developments associated with that. This is a huge learning experience, as well as an achievement for me since I’ve never painted something this large before.
My next level would be to find my unique style. I’m trying to know myself better through my art and so far, I sure like the part of me I see reflected in my paintings. “
“I am a self-taught artist who explores the world of art through sculpting, charcoal sketching, and painting using watercolors. Although I am graduated in electronics, my first love has always been art. My art is about experimenting with live shapes, their habitat, and colors. I see art as an expression of feelings but more importantly as a domain for freedom. Drawing on my love for life and surroundings, I do admit that I am not so concerned with the literal translation of a particular thing, subject, or landscape, but instead enjoy capturing the atmosphere and charm that embraces me, as I tease my brush and paint across the canvas or paper. I prefer not to be labeled or categorized in my work, as I feel my work is ever-changing. I believe an artist is one who is able to express himself through his work.
When I landed here in Qatar in 2007, I never imagined this would be a place that would nurture my artistic talents. My destiny had brought me here in search of a livelihood in Technical Degree, but today I’m immensely grateful for the numerous opportunities that have been made available for me here, to nourish my love for paintings.
But then Qatar is truly great, much greater than the little I had known about it. The value this nation has for art and for artists from other countries is truly noteworthy. It’s not just ‘hydro carbons’ that Qatar cares about — this is indeed a land of countless social and cultural heritages.
QATARUNITESUS is an interesting project that I was privileged to be part of. The basic idea was that each of us would work individually on a 4mx3m outdoor panel, based on the theme #Qatarunitesus. Here I am trying to convey the message of Qatar’s efforts to promote our region for Peace and to confront challenges that surround them and to the rest of the world holding their hands.
My dream is to become a full-time artist and offer new ideas to the world.
Let’s all spread art because art is about love so spread it.”